Addressing Teachers’ Concerns about Online Learning – Education Next

By Thomas Arnett

One of the great parts about working in education technology is the conversations it leads to in social settings outside of work. The subject of education is naturally interesting to most people because almost everyone has spent a significant portion of their life going through the education system. Given the common interest in education, it is exciting to tell people about the ways in which blended learning is enabling personalized instruction and fixing many of the aspects of school that people find frustrating. Interestingly, while most non-educators find these ideas immediately appealing, the reactions I get from current and former teachers can range anywhere from enthusiasm to skepticism to outright opposition. In my conversations with teachers, I’ve noticed some common concerns that are worth addressing.

via Addressing Teachers’ Concerns about Online Learning – Education Next : Education Next.

Does Your District’s Crisis-Response Plan Include Social Media? – Education Week

After a high school student posted a video suicide note on YouTube, then killed herself early this week, officials from the 101,000-student Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ky., temporarily shut down school-based access to YouTube and Twitter, prompting renewed attention to the role of social media in responding to school tragedies.

“The safety and security of our students is our number one priority,” said district spokeswoman Mandy Simpson in a statement. Removing access to the sites, Simpson wrote, “was an effort to ensure that students who are emotionally impacted could get the help they needed as we worked with officials to address the situation through the most appropriate and efficient channels.”

Simpson said that 20 grief counselors were dispatched Tuesday to Louisville’s Male High School, and access to the sites was quickly restored.

via Does Your District’s Crisis-Response Plan Include Social Media? – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.

11 Ways to use Symbaloo in the Classroom – The Edublogger

By Mimi Chau

Symbaloo is a free social bookmarking tool. A fun and simple way to organize and store all your digital resources in the cloud. You can categorize your resources, share and access them from any device. Meanwhile, Symbaloo is a free educational tool, SymbalooEDU Premium is a resource management system that offer classrooms, schools, and districts a customized SymbalooEDU page with a dedicated URL to distribute and manage all digital resources in one place. Learn more about “Which Symbaloo is Best for You”.

Why Should You Symbaloo?

Symbaloo helps teachers curate content and share the best of the web with their students. Teachers are able to work harder, smarter and most importantly, happier.

“Help, I’m drowning!” said Shelley Breivogel, 25 year veteran teacher from Indiana. Like many other teachers, Shelley is feeling overwhelmed with the amount of time it takes working outside of the classroom to be an effective teacher.

via 11 Ways to use Symbaloo in the Classroom – The Edublogger.

Gaming in Education Revisited – KerbalEDU! – The Edublogger

By Elliott Bristow

A few months ago I wrote an article about how video games were starting to find their way into the education system, with a less than subtle nudge from organisations like Teacher Gaming, makers of MinecraftEDU.

Well, the guys at Teacher Gaming have done it again! This time they have turned their hand to the popular space simulation game Kerbal Space Program, with the arrival of a Mod for the game known as KerbalEDU!

Although still in the very early development stages, the KerbalEDU modification shows a lot of promise for teachers. Using the, already very educational, Kerbal Space Program game as a base, their EDU Mod adds some interesting features that could help teachers make Physics, Maths and even Orbital Mechanics and Rocket Science, enjoyable and engaging for their students. The mod adds a lot of numbers and statistics, as well as a graph based flight recorder that teachers could use to show, for example, the effects of acceleration on potential kinetic energy, how thrust to weight ratios affect acceleration, how acceleration is affected by mass, drag and gravity… there are many possible applications.

via Gaming in Education Revisited – KerbalEDU! – The Edublogger.

Helping Educators Get Started With Twitter – The Edublogger

by Sue Waters

Unfortunately educators often dismiss Twitter, or fail to see the value of Twitter, when they’re first introduced to it.

Common misconceptions are that twitter is:

for celebrities, sports stars and journalists

like posting an update to Facebook

like an email where you need to read everything

Yet from experience, we know that most educators who use Twitter effectively say they learn more from their personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter than they’ve achieved from just about anything else.

via Helping Educators Get Started With Twitter – The Edublogger.

Texts, Snapchats, Instagram: Translating Teens’ Online Behavior | MindShift

Tina Barseghian |


How much surveillance should parents have over their teenagers’ social media lives? Why are kids’ online roles so different from their realities? How does technology change the way teens relate to each other and to adults?

Author Danah Boyd, who has been spending lots of quality time with teens over the past few years, attempts to demystify teens’ online actions and behaviors and provide some insight into their motivations in this excellent Science Friday interview (press the play button to hear the full interview). Boyd articulates a nuanced understanding of young people’s mindsets that may help translate their actions for befuddled adults.

via Texts, Snapchats, Instagram: Translating Teens’ Online Behavior | MindShift.

School board approves no text, cell use policy – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A new policy for school board members that would not allow them to access email, Twitter, Facebook or any other electronic messages during Fairfield-Suisun School District board meetings won approval Thursday.

The school board passed the protocols after Trustee Pat Shamansky said the measures “address basic, common-sense use of new technology.”

Suisun City resident George Guynn Jr., a regular critic of the school district, called the policy a no-brainer and said he’s glad Superintendent Kris Corey supports the proposal.

via School board approves no text, cell use policy Daily Republic.

Beyond Angry Birds, Five Apps That Test Your Physics Skills | MindShift

By Tanner Higgin, Graphite

Chances are, if you have a smartphone or tablet, you’ve played Angry Birds. While Candy Crush Saga might currently top the charts, Angry Birds is the best selling app of all time. From an educator’s perspective, what’s exciting about Angry Birds’ popularity versus something like Candy Crush is that getting good at Angry Birds means skillfully – and often unconsciously – using conceptual physics knowledge. It’s something video games have been doing for years, but Angry Birds brought it to a mass audience, sneaking a bit of science into many students’ digital diets.

Here are five other games for the Angry Birds fan that do an even better job of integrating physics and problem solving into addictive, just-one-more-try experiences.

via Beyond Angry Birds, Five Apps That Test Your Physics Skills | MindShift.

Bypassing the Textbook: Video Games Transform Social Studies Curriculcum | MindShift

Katrina Schwartz

Educators typically think of using digital and video games as the actual learning tool, but one teacher is using video games for something else entirely — as a replacement for the textbook.

Jeff Mummert, a social studies teacher and department chair at Hershey High School in Pennsylvania, uses games in his class to get students thinking critically about the subject matter the games address, even if they’re completely imaginary, he said. Game designers put a lot of time and thought into developing aesthetically appealing games that they think will draw players into an imaginary world. Mummert says his interest in games in the classroom focuses entirely on asking students to think critically about the game in the same way they would analyze a text or work of art.

via Bypassing the Textbook: Video Games Transform Social Studies Curriculcum | MindShift.

Should Schools Teach Social Media Skills? | MindShift

By Aarti Shahani

Taking selfies at funerals. Tagging pictures of teens drinking alcohol at parties. Kids (and adults for that matter) post a lot of silly stuff online — and although most of it is chatter, some of what might seem harmless leads to tragic consequences. But is it the job of schools to teach kids the dos and don’ts of social media?

At Lincoln High School in San Francisco’s Sunset district, counselor Ian Enriquez teaches students three very big words: “Disinhibition, reputation, anonymity.”

via Should Schools Teach Social Media Skills? | MindShift.

Gaming in Education – Minecraft in Schools? | The Edublogger

by Elliott Bristow

I recently returned from a holiday in Orlando, Florida, where I was privileged to be able to attend “Minecon”, a convention for the popular sandbox game “Minecraft”, developed by Mojang AB.

Personally I’m a big fan and long term player of the game, and I’m amazed at how this ‘phenomenon’ has swept across the world. It was great to see how the game is being used and where the game is heading in the future.

via Gaming in Education – Minecraft in Schools? | The Edublogger.

Public vs. Private – Should Student Work Be Public On the Web? | The Edublogger

by Ronnie Burt

10+ years ago, filters and blocking tools were banning access to most blogs and web publishing services in schools around the world.

In fact, this is exactly why The Edublog Awards were started – to showcase the excellent work being done with blogging in schools – hoping it would begin to break down these barriers and change the minds of nervous administrators and teachers.

Perhaps it worked! We’ve made significant progress since, as services like Edublogs are hardly ever blocked in schools now. And the use of blogs in education for many is integral to lessons and student learning.

via Public vs. Private – Should Student Work Be Public On the Web? | The Edublogger.

Apps for Winter Reading | Edutopia

By Monica Burns

For families traveling this winter or teachers simply looking for an alternative to tablet games, there are lots of great apps for winter reading. Android devices, iPhones and iPads can be turned into ebook readers with a quick tap or swipe. Portable and kid-friendly, these interactive storybooks will support and engage young readers.

Snowman Joe (iOS (3))

Follow along with this musical storybook as readers travel through a winter wonderland. Auto Play reads the book aloud as it zooms into parts of the illustrations and highlights keywords.

via Apps for Winter Reading | Edutopia.

The Top 10 Ways Blogs and WordPress Are Used in Schools | The Edublogger

by Sue Waters

Edublogs is built on WordPress – which was once just for blogs.

But now, WordPress is used for way more than blogs and powers around 20% of the entire web!

It never stops amazing us when we see all of the different ways that educators are using Edublogs and we don’t get to share them all often enough.

So, here’s a rundown of ten of the most common, along with some examples for inspiration and ideas!

via The Top 10 Ways Blogs and WordPress Are Used in Schools | The Edublogger.

Education Apps for Preschoolers : Education Next

By Education Next

“While the media hyperventilate about MOOCs and higher education, and K‒12 school districts around the country form technology committees, the nation’s preschoolers have the situation well in hand.” So writes Alex Hernandez in a new article for Education Next, “Toddlers and Tablets,” about how education apps targeted at preschoolers are taking off. He explains the advantages of this sector:

Fairly or not, educators criticize edtech companies for producing uninspired products that ignore learning science and yield meager results. School officials can exacerbate such problems through bureaucratic, irrational purchasing and poor program implementation. Early-childhood app companies have a chance to break through this logjam and lead the entire sector forward.

via Education Apps for Preschoolers : Education Next.

LA students get iPads, crack firewall, play games – The Reporter

By John Rogers

Education officials in the nation’s second-largest school district are working to reboot a $1 billion plan to put an iPad in the hands of each of their 650,000 students after an embarrassing glitch emerged when the first round of tablets went out.

Instead of solving math problems or doing English homework, as administrators envisioned, more than 300 Los Angeles Unified School District students promptly cracked the security settings and started tweeting, posting to Facebook and playing video games.

via LA students get iPads, crack firewall, play games – The Reporter.

We Should Talk – Are You Using Student Photos Online? | The Edublogger

By Sue Waters

Student photos, and especially linking names with specific photos, is a common concern that comes up when blogging, sharing videos, or using other web services online.

Information that helps someone identify a student should always be shared with care.

What you need to consider

Even though 99.99% of visitors to your class blog will be well meaning parents, students, community members, or interested visitors from around the world, the unfortunate reality is that those with bad intentions can also visit public sites. There are also cases where the personal background of a student might mean they need more privacy and anonymity than others.

via We Should Talk – Are You Using Student Photos Online? | The Edublogger.

Lessons in Cyberspace : Education Next

By Jeanne DelColle

The Internet has become a tremendous resource for teachers both for the sheer volume of information available and for opportunities to connect with each other. Educators can collaborate through virtual learning networks like Edmodo. On Twitter, there is a chat group with the hashtag #edchat, run by Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby), where one can ask questions on all things education and fellow educators respond. You can also find great materials with broad searches, as long as you are willing to adapt what you find to your classroom needs. I recently combined material from different online sources to prepare my students to write an essay on racism.

via Lessons in Cyberspace : Education Next.

Hacking Real Things Becomes Child’s Play At This Camp : NPR

Steve Henn /NPR

Owen Chilcoat hacking his tablet. “I am just messing around … trying to break it,” he says. Steve Henn /NPR

At r00tz, a camp that takes place each year during the Def Con convention in Las Vegas, children learn to pick locks, hack smart TVs and, most important, how to take apart and understand the technology that surrounds them. The scene inside the camp a couple weeks ago was a bit of a madhouse — controlled chaos. Little kids everywhere. Brendan Herman was trying to program a machine to draw pictures on ping-pong balls, wearing a tinfoil hat.

via Hacking Real Things Becomes Child’s Play At This Camp : All Tech Considered : NPR.